letterpress

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Design Documentary

Field Notes Launches New Collection of Letterpress Notebooks Designed by Nine Printers Across the U.S.

September 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

For its latest limited edition series, Field Notes tasked nine letterpress shops with capturing the diverse perspectives and histories of the nation through a pocket-sized design. United States of Letterpress is a pastel collection of memo notebooks featuring renderings of small storefronts, geometric patterns, and various slogans, including nods to the upcoming presidential election. Each holds 48 pages of graph paper.

To coincide with the launch, the Chicago-based notebook manufacturer filmed a short documentary, directed by Steve Delahoyde, capturing the processes and history of the art form. The printers involved—which includes Genghis Kern, Full-Circle Press, Mama’s Sauce, Brad Vetter, Springtide Press, Ben Blount, Erin Beckloff, Rick Griffith, and Starshaped Press—speak to the generosity of the printing community, the challenges of the medium, and the endurance of traditional type and equipment. They also details the tactile process of designing and creating their contributions.

For the special collection, Field Notes sent the independent printers cover paper in a different color and asked them to use the same two inks, Rhubine Red and Process Blue. Employing a variety of vintage metal, wood type, laser cutting, and photopolymer plates, some producers submitted two designs, which were added at random into the packs. “There is so much history and tradition in each hand-printed piece, and we wanted to honor that while also showcasing the phenomenal work that modern practitioners of the craft are producing,” co-founder Jim Coudal said.

Check out all nine notebooks below, and head to Field Notes’ site to pick up a set of three. Follow the company on Instagram to keep up with its latest releases.

 

 

 

 



Illustration Music

Become a Piano Savant with This Clever Guide to Classic Tunes by Christoph Niemann

January 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“How to Please Elise” (2020), 16.5 x 11.8 inches, letterpress print on Gmund Colors Matt 21, 200g/m2. All images © Christoph Niemann

Your days of expensive piano lessons are over. Master the foreboding notes in Jaws, a nursery rhyme often repeated by kids, and of course,”Für Elise,” with this straightforward diagram from Christoph Niemann (previously). In his riff on Beethoven’s classic,  “How to Please Elise” provides simple instructions on how to play the first 51 notes of the German composer’s masterpiece with ease through a diagrammed sequence similar to an old-school instructional dance chart. Niemann even said on Instagram that the notes are fact-checked and accurate, so anyone attempting to follow his directions should produce the widely recognized tunes. If you want to add one these signed prints to your collection, though, you should hurry: Niemann only printed 100.

 

 



Design Illustration

An Elegant 2017 Letterpress Lunar Calendar by Alec Thibodeau

November 10, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Designer Alec Thibodeau just unveiled his newest letterpress-printed lunar calendar design for 2017. The calendar is calibrated for the Eastern time zone but is accurate to within a day for anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. The piece was designed, drawn, and printed in Providence, Rhode Island with help from DWRI Letterpress. Limited edition prints are available through Thibodeau’s website. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

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Design

The Smallest Printing Company: Miniature Printing Presses For a Mobile Printing Studio

December 2, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Forget the latest desktop printer from HP or Epson, what you need is a new miniature printing press designed by the traveling open source design studio Letterproeftuin out of the Netherlands. Created for the International Poster and Graphic Design Festival Chaumont earlier this year, the miniature screen and letter printing presses were created so that Letterproeftuin could create smaller prints while on location at printing shows. While it doesn’t look like they have any plans to mass produce the presses I imagine such a thing could be extremely popular these days. See much more here. (via Quipsologies, Printeresting)

 

 



Art Design

Cameron Moll's Typographic Letterpress Print of the Brooklyn Bridge

October 21, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Letterpress detail from Colosseo

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Letterpress detail from Salt Lake

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Designer Cameron Moll recently announced a new Kickstarter for a letterpress print of the Brooklyn Bridge constructed entirely from typography. Moll worked entirely in Adobe Illustrator to draw the artwork, and while some sections can be copied and pasted roughly 70-80% of the characters in the artwork were positioned, sized, and rotated one by one. To give you an idea of what the final piece will look like you can see two similar works the designer previously designed, Colosseo and Salt Lake. See more over on Kickstarter.

 

 



Design

Letterpress Dice

June 1, 2011

Christopher Jobson

Love this beautiful letterpress project for a band called Cupp Cave and their forthcoming Dice Pool EP. Using a Vandercook SP20 letterpress and a sheet of 676 dice they printed a limited edition of 300 prints. See more photos here.

Update: I just learned about the work of Etsy shop owner Stukenborg who’s been selling similar letterpress dice prints since early 2010. (thnx, chelsea!)